In-Box Review
Guns to Japanese A6M5 Zero
Dragon's Fire
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by: Stephen T. Lawson [ JACKFLASH ]


The Mitsubishi A6M Zero (Zeke) was a long range fighter aircraft operated by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service (IJNAS) from 1940 to 1945. The A6M was modified and designated as the Mitsubishi Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter.

When it was introduced early in World War II, the Zero was the best carrier-based fighter in the world, combining excellent maneuverability and very long range. In early combat operations, the Zero gained a legendary reputation as a "dogfighter", achieving the outstanding kill ratio of 12 to 1.

The Model 52 was developed to face the powerful American F6F Hellcat and F4U Corsair, superior mostly for engine power and armament. The variant was a modest update of the A6M3 Model 22, with non-folding wing tips and thicker wing skinning to permit faster diving speeds, plus an improved exhaust system. The latter used four ejector exhaust stacks, providing an increment of thrust, projecting along each side of the forward fuselage. The new exhaust system required modified "notched" cowl flaps and small rectangular plates which were riveted to the fuselage, just aft of the exhausts. Two smaller exhaust stacks exited via small cowling flaps immediately forward of and just below each of the wing leading edges. The improved roll-rate of the clipped-wing A6M3 was also built in.

armament types

The standard armament was;

A. 2 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Type 97 machine guns in the engine cowling, with 500 rounds per gun.

Japan produced a number of machine guns that were direct copies of the British Lewis (Japanese Type 92 machine gun) and Vickers machine guns including the ammunition. These were primarily used in Navy aircraft. The 7.7mm cartridge used by the Japanese versions of the British guns is a direct copy of the .303 British (7.7x56R) rimmed cartridge and is distinctly different from the 7.7x58mm Arisaka rimless and 7.7x58mm Type 92 semi-rimmed cartridges used in other Japanese machine guns and rifles.

Ball: 174 grains (11.3 g). CuNi jacket with a composite aluminium/lead core. Black primer.
A.P.: brass jacket with a steel core. White primer.
Tracer: 130 grains (8.4 g). CuNi jacket with a lead core. Red primer.
Incendiary: 133 grains (8.6 g). Brass jacket with white phosphorus and lead core. Green primer.
H.E.: a Copper jacket with a PETN and lead core. Purple primer.
Note: standard Japanese ball ammunition was very similar to the British Mk 7 cartridge.

B.2 20 mm Type 99 cannons in the wings, with 60 rounds per gun.

The Type 99-1 cannon and Type 99-2 cannon were Japanese versions of the Oerlikon FF and Oerlikon FFL. They were adopted by the Imperial Japanese Navy in 1939 and served as their standard aircraft autocannon during World War II.

Kit contents

2 brass barrels for the 7.7 machine guns.
2 brass fretted jackets for the 7.7 machine gun barrels.
2 brass barrels for the type 99 20mm cannons.
1 brass pitot tube.
1 small instruction sheet.

The installation of these is shown on a kit at the webpage for these items. Even on an upainted kit these items are impressive.

When contacting manufacturers and publishers please mention you saw this review at AEROSCALE
Highs: Simple design & easy construction. No unwanted seams
Lows: More parts to the guns themselves.
Verdict: An easy and impressive way for your build to take on the scale look of the real deal.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:32
  Mfg. ID: #A32 106
  Suggested Retail: 15,52 EUR
  Related Link: website
  PUBLISHED: Mar 27, 2011
  NATIONALITY: Japan / 日本

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About Stephen T. Lawson (JackFlash)

I was building Off topic jet age kits at the age of 7. I remember building my first WWI kit way back in 1964-5 at the age of 8-9. Hundreds of 1/72 scale Revell and Airfix kits later my eyes started to change and I wanted to do more detail. With the advent of DML / Dragon and Eduard I sold off my ...

Copyright 2021 text by Stephen T. Lawson [ JACKFLASH ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


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